Why is everyone not using Windows 8 yet? [Opinion]

windows_8_pcIt’s been a year since the initial release of the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system, and it has yet to make a major impact in the business or consumer markets. Microsoft’s attempt was to create a hybrid of desktop, Windows 7, and mobile operating system, apparently in an attempt to make everyone happy. Thus far it has made few people happy. The reasons are many, but Windows 8 is a major move away from Windows’ strength – the desktop and laptop market.

Full Screen Menu
The first major problem with the Windows upgrade is a full screen startup menu, a feature which has been significantly modified for the annual upgrade of Windows 8.1. Think about it – a full screen menu on a 27 inch display. Looks and functionality are two very different things, and while it may look like a good idea, it simply is not. It is reported PC maker Lenovo has a version that comes with its PC’s that immediately takes the user to the original start menu with one click.

Who Cares?
Apparently, Microsoft thought it must enter the mobile computing market because of the decline of PC sales and the ascending of tablets. But they are way behind the curve as Google’s Android operating system and Chrome notebook have established themselves as filling the need for consumers who want strictly mobile use and who care less about the power of a desktop or laptop computer. Apple has its core of diehard users, and Windows 8 is of zero interest to them. So who is the real market for Windows 8? That is a question Microsoft may still not be able to answer.

Market Core Blahs
Any company releasing a new upgrade of a product where the majority of its sales lie should make sure that group is willing to jump on board shortly after its initial release. Windows 8 has not been adopted by businesses yet, and is not likely to be adopted until some time during 2014, pending the new release due out in this calendar quarter. The conversion rate is likely to be slow depending on changes that are made and the general temperature of the economy. Most businesses are hanging on to their older versions of Windows because, well, they work and users are familiar with them.

The Real Question
The real question is why spend more money on another operating system that has yet to be widely accepted, is trying to do too much, and is trying to be something it is not? One major distinction between Microsoft and Apple over the years has been the target market focus – Apple on consumers and Microsoft on businesses. What has taken place is the shift from a business-oriented use of computers to a consumer driven computing mentality. Steve Jobs said that about the iPhone and iPad. They were designed to be consumer devices, not technology that would challenge the masses but make technology simple. When operating systems of all devices – smartphones, PCs, laptops, and tablets – are taken into consideration, Windows has fallen from the number one choice for buyers.

Conclusion

The suggestion box has been opened and the Windows 8 upgrade is near, set to present the changes critics have been asking for. But with such low sales numbers, how significant can the upgrade be to attract new buyers or have businesses willing to invest in the latest release? Computer users need a reason to spend money on an upgrade, developers a reason to create new software, businesses have to consider the return on investment of the upgrade. Without a practical reason for any of these groups, the question is not when everyone will use Windows 8 but if anyone except a minority will ever use it.

This article was contributed to dotTech by Vanessa Carrie. Vanessa is a consumer advocate who writes product reviews and stories about personal finance. Her recent work is on the Top 10 Colleges for a Cheap Online Degree.

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20 comments

  1. KMHamm

    Windows seems to succeed every OTHER time with the OSs they produce. So I’m skipping 8. We’ll see if they do any better with 9. I use Windows for home and business, both running 7. They work OK, I suppose. Think about that. “They work — OK. I… suppose.” Not “they work great and I love to use them and I’ve seen others and they far outshine anything else.” The biggest and most interesting thing I’ve seen lately is Leap Motion’s sensor/controller and that’s still mostly a toy. I guess I’m asking where the hell the WOW! factor is in these, or even if there’s supposed to be one. They all need to stop reinventing and reselling the same item and innovate.

  2. RealBull

    [@David Roper]
    “RealBull, MS is too lazy to support the bugs in TWO versions of Windows. You have more faith in them than I do.”
    I don’t see why they(MS) would be too lazy. They’ve been working on bugs for several OS’s for years; XP, Vista, 7 and different versions of each OS, Home, Pro and Ultimate. Their problem now is that they are moving away from different versions of their OS and to a one-size fits all OS. What I meant by two versions is that they could have kept the same OS and just changed the UI for each platform.

  3. Darcy

    Microsoft is attempting to make one standard version for everyone, again. The reason it failed before, and fails this time, is that the needs for the OS differ from user to user. They realized that a long time ago when they developed Home and Office versions but now that a mobile version is required they want to try it again? Apparently their corporate memory is too short.

  4. Seamus McSeamus

    [@David Roper] No apologies needed. We all need a good rant now and then, and you expressed a lot of frustrations that I’m sure many of us feel.

    As for me, I have tried to like Win8. In the end, I just can’t. It’s bad at some things, decent at others, but not really good at anything.

    The start menu thing never bothered me, and I thought the complaints were much ado about nothing. It was easy enough to get to the desktop after booting up, and 8.1 makes it even easier with the boot to desktop option.

    My biggest complaint about Win8 is that it doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be. Is it a mobile o/s or a computer o/s? MS tried to make it both, and while I can’t say from personal experience how it performs on a tablet, it just feels incomplete on a PC.

    The touch screen is counter intuitive for a home or business PC user. When you’ve been trained with keyboard and mouse, reaching up to touch the screen is awkward.

    Over the past couple years I have found myself using Linux more and more, and I really enjoy playing around with all the different distros (Debian being my favorite). If MS doesn’t start doing a better job, Linux is in a perfect position to gain some ground.

  5. David Roper

    I have to thank sk and Sys-Enr for expressing my thoughts exactly. RealBull, MS is too lazy to support the bugs in TWO versions of Windows. You have more faith in them than I do.

    If MS is not careful, Win8.2 or Win 9 will be the breaking point that we were all waiting for, ie an excuse to bite the bullet and get Linus P. on our side with LINUX.

    MS cannot produce a decent OUTLOOK.COM email system either.

    I would not trust Google an inch with Android as they cannot even create a decent email system after all these years.
    Well, maybe It’s decent only because it’s FREE.

    Apple is not invited to the party for me. Although their stuff “just works as advertised”. Too closed up.

    My grandchildren can operate their iPhones better than I can deal with my Samsung Galaxy Jelly bean or Ice Cream. That Android naming convention, itself, shows how silly the Google Geeks are. Android. Hemorrhoid. Accident? I think not.

    With little bitty LINUX, it looks like there’s tons of support and that’s what the world needs. Support.

    Can you imagine a world of super speed PCs like we have now running Linux that would execute “portable” type Windows programs in a DOS like atmosphere where we didn’t have to contend with registries and their likes? I’m thinking of Batch files to move you into a subdirectory (folder) and run the portable there with all the warts it wants to grow and needs for support. To erase it, just erase it. There’s TB of HD room now for cheap.

    Install programs from a 64GB flashdrive you carry for security in your pocket. Encrypted.

    I’m sorry for the tirade here. You all are my friends here on DotTech. This NSA and IRS and Verizon spies and ACA stuff just has me bothered tonight. I’ll be better in the morning.

  6. weylin

    Businesses will adopt a new system later than the general public. This has always been the case.

    You cannot compare the OS of a PC/laptop/Mac to Android or IOS7. Microsoft is still the number one OS on “hub” computers by a very large margin. Many tablets are near useless without having a regular PC to manage them. Tablets may take the place of the desktop, but not today.

    Microsoft could remedy the Start Menu problem in the next version of Windows. During install, give the option to install the new Start Page for a tablet or the traditional Start Menu for a PC. Problem solved.

    I will probably buy an iPad Air or Mini in the next few months. If my PC blows a fuse, I’ll probably get an iMac.

  7. RealBull

    [@Sys-Eng]
    Yes, I agree that MS wanted the laptop/Desktop to be like a phone. They saw the big success of the smart phone and tried to combine the markets, but they didn’t think about how businesses could be affected. Instead, now they try to force everyone by cutting off XP and sooner or later 7. I see and hear that more people are switching to Mac or Lynx. The worst part is the non-compatible software and ignoring the older generation who are left clueless.

    I think MS should have created two WIn8 versions; one for the phone/tablet and one for the laptop/desktop. Use the Win8 version they have now for phones and tablets and create a WinXP/7 UI version for laptops and desktops. Also keeping the laptop/desktop version software compatible.
    Depending on how Windows develops, I plan to go with Mac and Lynx in the future.

  8. Sys-Eng

    The author assumes that Microsoft formatted Windows 8 due to customer demand but that is just not true. The W8 format was chosen to help developers because they can right a program the same way for both telephones and computers. It dumbs down the computer to the level of a telephone. This is why the users are not embracing it. It does not make users more productive or save costs on existing software programs. Developers love it. More than half of the computer users hate it. I never ever wanted my computer to be like my telephone. It is not a leap ahead of W7 by any means.

  9. sk

    The backward compatibility is a huge thing for me as a developer. I warn the users of my applications that they will not have free support if they move to Win8.
    If MS is not going to guarantee backward compatibility then why would I waste my time and effort chasing their adventures and money making schemes?!
    MS is trying to forcefully shove Win8 down our throats. How can I believe that WinXP who has 12 years of security bug fixes and is tested like hell by millions of users is less secure than a new OS who we yet to discover its shortfalls?
    Last July my Win7 had 48 security updates in the matter of 5 days. And Win7 was called the most very secure when it was released late 2009.

  10. David Roper

    …because there is Android and Linux now besides a very good win 7 and XP that works fine.

    And we are MAD as hell against Windows for stealing our money through upgrades these years for nothing.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Win 7 was good and IS good. Read the first sentence again. Loop ten times until you understand. Gmail is next on the chopping block.

  11. GF

    > Why is everyone not using Windows 8 yet?

    First, by Windows XP I can do anything I wish. I don’t understand why I should change.

    Second, Windows 8 is still too young. I bet it has still several bugs.

  12. tejas

    A few months ago, I bought an ASUS netbook with Win8. It was horribly slow. I would click to open a program, and nothing happened for 5 or more seconds. Enter an IP camera address in IE, and more times than not, it ignored my input.
    I finally got fed up with it, and installed Win7. Finding all the correct drivers was a bit of a chore, but thanks to “Drivers For Free Unlimited” and their excellent staff, everything is working. I couldn’t be happier with it now. I have a device I can hold in one hand, and check IP cameras, on a 20 acre job-site, without running back and forth to the camera room.

    I will never use Win8!

  13. Ed

    IMO Windows 8 was released prematurely and really has no use whatsoever whether it be for home or business.

    Being a resident Windows 8 basher myself, I was pleasantly surprised after using 8.1 for a while, while it still is lacking in features it is a BIG step up from 8.

    The only thing I do not like is the way Microsoft is trying to force everyone over to the “touch” experience. Has anyone seen the price of touch screen monitors these days? I can tell you myself, it’s going to be a while before I even think about going touch screen.
    I have a 27″ LCD that cost half of what they want for a 23″ touch screen.

  14. Susann

    [@Randy] What Randy said! I’m self-employed & my computer’s a tool, not a toy. Don’t need the latest & greatest, I just need something that does what I need it to do, and I do NOT want to have to buy new hardware and buy — and learn — new software just because MS says I should. Not when the end result is *less* efficient than the original.

  15. MH

    I will not buy another PC or laptop using Windows as an OS until Microsoft comes back to its senses and gives us one like Windows 7 or better. That will never be a Windows 8 clone no matter how many improvements are made. The concept is dead in the water.

  16. Randy

    Well let’s see: Windows 8 is not compatible with a lot of software we use a HUGE issue and expensive, steep learning curve another expense , hardware compatibility issues yet another expense. Bought a new computer that had Windows 8 installed. Ended up returning it because it was not backwards compatible with Windows 7: could not find the needed hardware drivers. Another expense of time and money. Even my children do not like it. Windows 8.1 is maybe a little better, but still have the same issues as stated. Just saying!